Jackie Joyner-Kersee (1992)
By: Your Guess is as Good as Mine!
Pencils – Prrrrrrobably Joe Staton & Angelo Torres?
Inks – Prrrrrobably Mike DeCarlo?
We’re still looking at the weirdo-DC Comics/Kellogg’s/Sports Illustrated books (just one more after this, I promise!)… and today we’re going to jump off the baseball diamond and onto that ol’ track they dug out around the football field back in high school!
Before that, I wanted to thank some reader-pals for filling me in on some of the creative team for yesterday’s piece. So, whattaya think gang? Same folks on art chores this time out? Sure looks that way to me!
Our story opens during track practice where we meet a young would-be track star named Jane as she fumbles over a hurdle. Tony the Tiger blows his whistle, and we learn that he’s not just a creepy bystander this time out, but in fact the Coach of the track team! Gotta assume Frankenberry teaches Woodshop at whatever weirdo junior high school this is! Tony tells Jane she’ll get it next time, but she’s just not feelin’ it… she figures she may as well quit.
Oh-ho, you ain’t getting out of this that easily, young lady… at the very least, you’re going to have to listen to a Tony the Tiger lecture over a bowl that contains part of a complete breakfast! And lecture, he does: he shares the story of a girl… named Jackie who grew up in East St. Louis, Illinois.
One day, Jackie watched a television program about the Olympic Champion, Mildred Ella “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias. It was there that she decided that she’d pursue Olympic stardom! She busted her hump to get hone her speed and skill… and even did whatever she could to support the Junior Olympics!
Tony finally reveals this isn’t any ol’ Jackie he’s talking about… it’s Jackie Joyner-Kersee! He hands Jane an autographed photo Jackie had given him a few years prior before getting back into his story. Ya see, Jackie was never negative… all of the obstacles (or, hurdles) that were put in her way, never slowed her down in pursuit of her goals.
Jane ponders for a moment before basically tellin’ Tony to bug off. She ain’t as good as Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and she never will be… so, why even bother? I, uh, think your motivational speech might’ve backfired there, Tiger
kingman. Our bipedal beast realizes there’s only one way he might be able to reach Jane… and that’s by bribing her with a trip to meet Ms. Joyner-Kersee in person!
It’s really not all that “personal” a visit (yet)… in fact, Jackie is conducting an assembly at a nearby Community Center where she is planning on discussing her career in Track and Field.
The overall messages here are “be the best you can be” and “never give up”… which, didn’t work when Tony said it, but seem to have made a much bigger impact this time around… not completely, though!
It also helps that Jackie agreed to go back to Jane’s school with her to give her some pointers… and so, the next half-dozen pages are more or less your basic 1980’s movie “training montage”. Jane slips up a few times, however, with the encouragement of Jackie (and Tony), she eventually clears the “high hurdle” of self-doubt.
We wrap up later that year, and it’s the Regional Competition. Wouldja believe… Jane wins the race! Jackie and Tony are there to congratulate her on her victory, and (I assume) advancement to the Junior Olympics!
This one was a bit weirder than yesterday’s Ozzie Smith book. On one hand, I think I liked this one more… but on the other, I haven’t the foggiest idea as to why that might be.
There’s a lot of “dead space” in this story… dare I even call it “decompression”. Can we even call a one-off “decompressed”? While this wasn’t “writing for the trade”, it most definitely was “writing for a specific page count”.
I mean, did we really need four-pages of Ms. Joyner-Kersee’s presentation? That felt like wayyy too much. Also, six pages of “training montage”? I think we could’ve gotten the point in one or two… panels, much less pages!
The art here was similar in strength to the Ozzie book… also, similar in look, so we might be able to assume that this too was a Staton/Torres/DeCarlo joint. Whatever the case, the book definitely looked nice!
Tomorrow we’ll wrap up our three part look into Tony’s Sports Series, when… most likely, some disheartened kid is escorted by Tony the Tiger to meet a prominent figure in their sport of choice! It’s gonna be Nolan Ryan, so… yeah, more baseball!